The first part of the Kitchen & Equipment Awards 2020 supplier categories shortlist covers the sustainability, service & support and business development accolades.
Supplier of the Year – Sustainability
This rewards a supplier which is championing environmental product development and energy efficient products. This year’s shortlist is:
Adande only produces energy efficient refrigeration for the catering industry, using its unique design to pioneer and focus solely on providing the most energy efficient and sustainable refrigeration in the world. The Lowestoft-based manufacturer recently launched sister company Aircell to produce a grab and go open front cabinet designed to hold the cold air and reduce energy consumption by at least 40%. Adande is educating its distributor network and end users about sustainability using its loyal sales team, and during this pandemic it has been pushing hard and focusing on using Zoom and Skype for safety to contact and hold training seminars with all its dealers and consultants.
European WaterCare puts its environmental credentials first – not only does it manufacture eco-friendly, 100% recyclable water filters, it also recycles and re-purposes all third party water filters at its WaterCare recycling facility based in Harlow, Essex. This includes BWT, Brita and 3M filters. The end result produces regenerate resin which is used in replacement filters and plastic pellets to be used in the manufacture of components and internal parts of new water filters. This year, WaterCare launched the iX Water filter range, a 100% recyclable water filter, made in Britain. The Insert Refill Technology means customers are now able to change just the media insert, rather than replace the whole filter, maximising cost savings and reducing environmental impact.
Sustainability is built into the DNA of Hobart. Its machines focus on speed, performance and savings on water, chemicals and electricity. Hobart’s sales teams are experts in green solutions, and proactively work with dealer partners to extol the sustainable virtues, features and benefits of each machine. For instance, its latest Two-Level Washer was created for kitchens where space is at a premium. The machine builds up, not out, with two stacked wash chambers doubling the capacity and productivity of a conventional hood-type machine without doubling its footprint. Though the machine’s capacity may be double that of a conventional hood-type, water and detergent usage remains the same as a regular hood type machine.
Mechline’s suite of products to help with the ever-increasing environmental concerns of the foodservice industry includes the food waste bio-digester, Waste2O; the air and surface steriliser, HyGenikx; and an array of water-saving taps, pre-rinses and hand wash basins. Tools that aid food waste prevention and reduction need to go hand in hand with treatment technology as part of a sustainable waste management system. Therefore Mechline has developed a Food Waste Reduction Programme (FWRP) with these principles in mind, to help educate distributors and end users. Supporting Mechline’s FWRP and Waste2O machine is an end-of-life food reporter, which helps site operators monitor how much end-of life food is being processed through their machine.
Each of Quintex’s products centre around sustainability, and this is at the forefront of everything it does as a company. The firm has three main products to improve the energy efficiency and sustainability of commercial kitchens: the Cheetah demand-controlled kitchen extraction system and the Biofix and Ecofix grease management systems. Both Ecofix and Biofix use a unique bacteria that digests FOGs and helps the environment. This year Quintex has introduced QFinance, making sustainability sustainable by offering new purchasing options for all its clients in times where cash may be limited. Quintex products also enable remote dial in, reducing engineer call outs, as the team knows what they are going to fix before attending site.
Supplier of the Year – Service & Support
This category honours the supplier best deemed by the industry to be setting the benchmark for after-sales service, support and warranty. Therefore the finalists are:
Falcon Foodservice Equipment
Falcon Foodservice Equipment has strengthened the level of support it offers through ongoing investment in staff skills and technical expertise, including a training programme for engineers installing and servicing Lainox appliances. As the course is run by Falcon personnel, delegates have a familiar point of contact if they experience any issues during an install. Several members of its customer service team have now achieved a Scottish Vocational Qualification Level 6 in customer service, helping to drive up the standard of service it can offer customers. Falcon’s development kitchen in Stirling provides a state-of-the-art facility for menu and equipment training, and prior to Covid it had begun complementing that resource with the expansion of live cooking demonstrations around the UK.
Jestic Foodservice Solutions
The past 12 months have seen two Jestic apprentices achieve full engineer status with ACS Gas Safe qualifications, joining the team of 45 factory-trained engineers. This team and the support staff based at Jestic’s Kent head office help to deliver a 90% first-time fix rate for core products. Plus the supplier has moved the previously contracted out, third party ‘out of hours’ telephone support, to a dedicated in-house team. This now means that a 7-day service is offered by Jestic’s own resources, giving the service team greater control when supporting its customers. Jestic has now introduced a dedicated ‘equipment support specialist’ to work in conjunction with the aftersales service and culinary teams to deliver site-specific equipment training.
The Maidaid in-house technical team is a free of charge support service that allows both users and engineers to gain valuable information with ease. The team have worked incredibly hard to offer support to both dealers and end users this year. When the UK lockdown came into force in March they assisted sites by ensuring that equipment was shut down correctly to help avoid any unnecessary call outs/costs upon re opening. They also helped get the machines back up and running as efficiently and cost effectively as possible. Maidaid further produced a guide to assist both users and distributors to avoid machine downtime after leaving machines off for long periods.
Meiko’s after-sales team is always responsive and continuously reliable, even during Covid. This year the firm increased in-house engineer and in-house call centre allocator training, including a 4-week engineer call back to all new Meiko rack and flight warewashing machine installations, following commission, to ensure the machine is operating correctly and to further train operators on their new warewashers. The manufacturer also undertook a detailed assessment of stock being used nationwide on all calls, with a view to increase its first time fix. As a result, van stock items increased by 20% across 51 service vehicles nationwide. Meiko’s strength is in its consistency, with the team remaining solid where others have fallen away.
To make the organisation of servicing and maintaining customer’s appliances even easier, Taylor UK has created a comprehensive online service portal for customers. This allows end users to register their business, giving them the ability to access all of the details about their machine as well as information on service contracts. They can also download invoices and service records and order self-fit and consumable parts for their soft-serve or frozen drinks machine. Soft-serve machines have been among its most in-demand products in the past 12 months, inspiring the firm to produce free best practice guides on equipment selection and maintenance and a series of accompanying training videos available through its YouTube channel.
Supplier of the Year – Business Development
This award recognises manufacturers that have excelled in developing distributor sales and growing their company. The shortlist is:
In July, Foster and Gamko launched an improved interest-free offer which sees customers able to spread their payments over 12, 18 or 24 months – doubling what was previously possible. And the product(s) would be owned outright by the final payment. This means that operators can halve the monthly bill of a 12 month deal, all while the product is working for them. In the current climate, Foster and Gamko are taking all the financial risk. There is no admin fee and, subject to credit check, no need for a deposit. On top of that, Foster and Gamko offered a 3-month payment holiday on products delivered before 31 March 2021 as a way for the hospitality industry to recover.
From the introduction of brand new products, such as the touch-free universal holder for pump bottles to help all sectors in their hygiene practices, to welcoming on board many new customers throughout 2019 and 2020, even during the hardships of the global pandemic, Hupfer has had a year of growth, with 2020 being its 150th year in business. The company recently joined catering equipment buying consortium ENSE, and sister company, Trak, joined buying group Cedabond on 1 October this year too. Hupfer continues to put measures into place for further growth, with even more planned for 2021. Hupfer also plays a huge part in manufacturing products for the medical sector, which has been especially busy in recent times.
Retigo has recently introduced a tax efficient lease option, giving distributors and operators the chance to get their equipment quickly and within their budget, also allowing them the opportunity to take advantage of flexible upgrade plans when necessary. This option preserves working capital and protects other credit lines. Plus its just-launched Orange+ combi oven was developed by Retigo distributors, who identified the need for an alternative to cheaper brands but still with a high level of function and design, showing how the company has listened to the demands of the market and delivered in an exceptional way. Furthermore, the Czech-headquartered firm has appointed an exclusive UK supplier this year in the form of Commercial Catering Products.
RH Hall has responded quickly to the increased demand for hygiene solutions created by Covid-19 and invested in both the Hallco brand and its fabrications division. The new British-manufactured range includes Mobile Hand Wash Basins, which can be used anywhere, needing no plumbing or electrical connections – in both full height and reduced height versions for schools. RH Hall also worked closely with many NHS and healthcare operations to meet enhanced demand for patient and staff feeding during the pandemic. The iWave system has provided a solution for many hospitals throughout the UK, utilising barcode microwave technology to ensure hot food is available 24/7, even where skilled catering operators are not available.
Over the past 12 months, Welbilt has continued to cement its position as a market leader, not only in manufacturing commercial catering equipment but also in the aftersales service and support it is able to offer to customers. This has involved working closely, and often being part of committees and councils on trade associations, such as FEA, CEDA, Cedabond, Craft Guild of Chefs, LACA and FCSI. In addition to this, Welbilt has continued to build relationships and partnerships with third party businesses such as First Choice Group, where the company now offers regular masterclass sessions (when things return to some form of normality) giving dealers, distributors, and operators the opportunity to see Welbilt equipment first hand.